FOXBORO, Mass. — The phrase has worn out its welcome in New England this season, but Josh Boyce was an exemplar of it far before Matthew Mulligan on Sunday: “next man up.”
With Aaron Dobson sidelined by an injured foot and Kenbrell Thompkins out with a hurt hip, their fellow rookie receiver had to take on a larger workload. Boyce played 72 snaps against the Browns. He had played just 74 coming into the game, so it would have been excusable if Boyce was sucking air on the sidelines between series.
“You get a little extra juice because you’re playing a lot more,” Boyce said. I felt good out there.”
Boyce’s first target of the game didn’t go so well for the Patriots. Tom Brady threw to his new “X” receiver and neither player appeared to see D’Qwell Jackson sitting in the middle of the field. Brady’s pass was picked off by the Browns linebacker.
Boyce showed some wiggle later in the game. Near the end of the second quarter, Brady hit Boyce in the middle of the field. Buster Skrine was getting ready to tackle Boyce when the rookie receiver put the moves on the Cleveland cornerback.
Check out Boyce’s ankle-breaking juke in the GIF below.
“I’m pretty slick. You could say that,” Boyce said when asked if he was known for his quick moves. “I try to be.”
Boyce had three receptions for 49 yards in the game. He had just two catches for 30 yards coming into Sunday afternoon.
Boyce’s biggest play of the game wasn’t a catch at all. It was when he drew a pass interference call against fellow rookie Leon McFadden on New England’s final go-ahead drive. Some have questioned the call’s validity. Check it out below.